The first private security company to go 100% Reality-Based
I’ve trained many private security companies throughout the world over the years, but last week was the first time one of them wanted my system to be their exclusive personal protection system for their company. The company I am speaking of is the Swiss Security Academy, a division of OE Investigation Services, located in Zurich, and they are considered “the” top security academy in the German speaking part of Switzerland, not to mention that OE Investigation Services is one of the top companies in the region for providing private security guards and bodyguards to a wide variety of domestic and international clients; including government contracts (this is probably one reason why my courses had police officers from different agencies, including the SWAT team leader from one of Switzerland’s major cities). At any given time OE Investigation Services has 50 security guards working for them, many of whom are armed. Services provided by the company are: property protection, investigations, traffic control, riot suppression, and executive protection (after all, Zurich is one of the richest cities in the world that is home to corporate executives and their families who are in need of their services, not to mention foreign VIPs coming for business and pleasure).
So, why did OE Investigation Services choose my Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection system to be the system they depend upon for their tactical and defensive training curriculum to be taught in their Swiss Security Academy? The answer is simple, and one which you RBPP students and instructors worldwide probably already know, and that’s because RBPP has been on the cutting edge of security and self-defense for 15 years now, as of January 23, 2017 (our birthday is right around the corner). It was the first civilian-based system to teach people how to be aware of, and defend against, modern crime and terrorism, while most systems were still teaching people how to win the proverbial bar fight. So advanced was the approach to personal protection that even elite police and military units around the world had me teach them as well: German counterterrorist team GSG9, the Israeli Police Academy, U.S. Army Special Forces (see video), the FBI, Brazilian GATE (see video), the Bulgarian Secret Service, the Finnish Police Academy, Argentinean GOE (see video), and the list goes on. And, because “iron sharpens iron,” I had a vast amount of input from those I taught, which helped to refine the system over these past 15 years. OE Investigation Services had taken notice that other Swiss security companies had gone to Germany to take my courses, and they thought, “It’s time to bring Jim Wagner here to Zurich, and evaluate his system for ourselves.” This, according to one of the owners.
Although I had never met any of the owners before, I knew that they were a very professional company through the email correspondence between us, and doing some research on them through the Internet. I also enquired of my contacts in Switzerland. After all, I had been teaching in Switzerland for the past few years. When OE Investigation Services put me up in a nice hotel for my stay, and had a company car waiting for me in the hotel parking garage the night before my first day of teaching, I thought, “Hmmm, we’re off to a nice start.” When I stepped foot into their headquarters for the first, had a chance to chat over coffee with the owners, and got the red-carpet tour of the facility, I knew that they far above any security company I had worked with before. The word I told my assistant RBPP instructor, Alberto Caruso from Venice, Italy, was, “impressive,” and he thought the same thing when he arrived the next day to join me. OE Investigation Services had a large training room, a state of the art classroom, an equipment room stocked with the latest security gear, administrative offices, a fleet of security vehicles, and a command post trailer. It was like a small police department. I felt very much at home their.
I had been hired to train the company’s instructor cadre, along with some special guests. Their objective was to see if my reputation matched my knowledge and skills, and if so, they were to let me know if there would be further business together or not. This was exactly what I was expecting, and I had been through this “testing by fire” many times before with different companies, government units, and martial arts schools. It’s to be expected, and my teaching does not come cheap. Nothing good does. Well, after three days, the marking of the half-way point, two of the owners pulled me aside during a break and asked me, “Would it be possible if we talk about the future of our two companies after class today?” The word “future” meant that I had past the test. I was as good as refined Swiss gold. However, that did not mean that I was ready to “open up a Swiss bank account” just yet. We still had a lot of details to work out.
For six days I taught the instructors of the Swiss Security Academy a variety of subjects that they had asked me for, and to certify them as instructors. Several of the guests only stayed for student portion of the training, and did not continue with the instructor phase. The main courses included Knife Survival, Terrorism Survival, and Active Shooter Response for Security Personnel (video). Side courses included stage make-up application for scenarios, arrest & control, and some marketing pointers. The frightening thing was that the day after I taught Knife Survival one of the Swiss police officers in my course came in with a copy of the Thüringer Allgemeine newspaper article that reported that a woman had been stopped by the police for exhibiting “strange behavior,” and they told her to go home and cool off. Well, she went home all right, but she got a knife from her home, went back out in public to the Erfurt train station in Germany, and then stabbed a police officer. Fortunately, the police officer did not sustain any life-threatening injuries. Then, the day after I had taught Terrorism Survival, the news was all over Europe that a radical Islamic suicide terrorist detonated a pipe bomb in a subway station in New York City wounding himself and four others (thank God no life had been lost).
When I was teaching my Terrorism Survival course I had each of my students make an “X” on a diagram of a subway train where they normally sit. Later, when I we discussed the types of attacks that take place on a subway I told them, “The most dangerous times to be on a subway train, when it comes to a terrorist attack, is at rush hour; either in the morning rush hour or the evening rush hour.” When I pulled up the story from the New York Post a couple of days later the headline read, Suicide bomber strike New York City at rush hour.
Each day that I taught I had lunch with the owners of OE Investigation Services, and it gave us a little more time together in a casual environment to discuss business, and life in general. We all got to know each other better, and we discovered that we enjoyed each other’s company. Of course, I love Swiss food, and going out with them each day was no hardship. The most important thing I found out about my new business partners is that they are ambitious, and they have their finger on the pulse of security when it comes to the future of Switzerland. Although they are already on “top of the food chain” when it comes to teaching private security guards in German speaking Switzerland, they want to be better – much better, and they told me, “Your knowledge and experience will help us get there.”
I responded to the owners of OE Investigation Services, “I’m here to help you.” Not only do I have a system that keeps professionals safer on the job, and those they protect, but I have great organizational skills when it comes to setting up training programs; along with putting together tactical teams. When I was serving as a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) officer with the Costa Mesa Police Department the SWAT Commander, Lieutenant Ron Smith, put me in charge of organizing how team elements interacted with the Command Post Operations, plus I was tasked with putting together realistic training scenarios for the entry team, sniper team, and hostage negotiations team. When I was with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (America’s fifth largest Sheriff’s department) I was the team leader of the Dignitary Protection Unit, and Captain John Henley put me in charge of the training. When I was at Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, California I formed the first Special Response Team in the history of the California State Military Reserve under Colonel Seitz, I personally trained the enlisted soldiers and officers on the team, and was the team leader for it. This was no small responsibility either. My team was in place to “attack the attacker” at a time when American military bases were expecting terrorist attacks from Islamic State. The team also had the added duty of close protection. My last assignment on the team, before retiring from the military, was protecting a state senator. Of course, add all this to my experience as a private bodyguard, federal counterterrorist agent, working part time as a private investigator, and six months working for the Walt Disney Company, and I definitely have something to offer those organizations who are aiming high.
I was supposed to work another half day, on top of the week I had already put in, but the owners knew that the second half of the day was reserved for me to take my wife out for her birthday. Unexpectedly, one of the owners said, “You don’t half to teach half day tomorrow. Enjoy the entire day with your wife,” and he let me take the company car. He didn’t have to twist my arm to convince me, so I took my wife to the beautiful city of Lucerne, and we had a wonderful time there. It’s only a one-hour drive from Zurich. Not only is the city beautiful, but we had the good fortune of having blue skies for the entire day. This was incredible, because for two weeks straight Lucerne had been gray, rain, and snow. Then, the day after our visit to Lucerne, at the Zurich airport on December 14, 2017, it was snowing. It was a light snow, but dark and gray. My wife always jokes with me, “God hears you every time you pray for good weather.” Of course, it’s not always the case. But, I have to admit, most of the time my prayers are answered. Just ask my RBPP Director of Italy, Fabrizio Capucci the same thing. When we went to the Vatican to see Pope Francis a couple of years ago – another miracle!
I have been invited back to teach, not only for the Swiss Security Academy, but for the Swiss police as well. My goal, when it comes to OE Investigation Services, is to not only to improve their operation, and give them the best training I can, but to put help them expand their business internationally. If you are a security officer or police officer outside of German speaking Switzerland, and you’re interested in attending some of my RBPP courses in Zurich in 2018, then write me and let me know about your interest or write to OE Investigation Services.
BE A HARD TARGET
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